Cholesterol-fueled, but surprisingly palatable, ramen.
This creamy, earthy ramen hails from Sanuki prefecture in Ibaraki and comes to Bangkok courtesy of a globe-trotting chef with venues in the US, Canada, the Philippines and Singapore. The dark and moody setting invites solo diners to wolf down hearty bowls free from judgement. Popular vote goes to the Special Ramen with its molten pork fat, slow-cooked pork-belly chashu and a boiled egg with a perfectly fudgy yolk.
Menya Kouji hails from Ibaraki Prefecture on the outskirts of Tokyo, and comes to Bangkok courtesy of chef Tashiro Koji, who also has restaurants in the US, Canada, Philippines and Singapore, where he founded the Ramen Champion outlets. His place in Bangkok has already become a favorite spot for ramen hunters thanks to its salty, creamy and very earthy broth.
Situated in Prom Phong's quiet Boulevard 39 complex, the dark space with its red laminate tables, navy chairs and framed pictures of its founder with different Japanese celebrities is as plain as it gets.
The menu, like at so many solid ramen places, is fully described in three languages—Japanese, English and Thai—and the star dish is undoubtedly the tsukemen (dipping ramen, B250). The broth bursts with flavor from the first bite—a thick, creamy tonkotsu creation that’s tangy and packed with the aroma of miso and dried fish. The noodles are also boiled to soft, springy perfection. Some people might find it too salty, but mix in a spash of the mild, clear soup that’s served alongside it for better balance.
We also love the house-favorite Special Ramen (B230), which features molten pork fat, slow-cooked pork-belly chashu and a boiled egg with a perfectly fudgy yolk. This guilty, cholesterol-fueled (but surprisingly palatable) pleasure is something worth trading your monthly fitness regime for. The side dishes are also not to be missed, from the crispy, pan-fried gyoza (B90)—aromatic and stuffed with herbs—to the sweet-soy baigai (Babylon snails, B130)—springy meat packed with the fresh smell of the ocean.
We feel slightly let down with the Hokkaido-style fried chicken with spicy sauce (B120): the skin is not as crisp as we’d like for karaage. Still, the meat is tender and, when combined with the dipping sauce, everything falls into place.
We’re not surprised that this restaurant constantly pulls in a crowd of Japanese salarymen who add to the lively atmosphere. Thanks to good meals at a very reasonable price and attentive service, this ramen joint is definitely one of the very best in Bangkok.
This review took place in July 2016 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||Menya Kouji, Nihonmura Mall, Thonglor Soi 13, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-midnight|
|Nearest train||BTS Phrom Phong|
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